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Full text of "A history of Persia"

436                 HISTORY OF PERSIA                 CHAP.
an expedition, but after his failure there were none of
sufficient weight, not to speak of the injustice of invading
Afghanistan with the avowed intention of substituting an
inefficient ruler for one of exceptional capacity.
Even with the reduced force which it was now deter-
mined to employ, the question of supplies, expressed in
terms of transport, dominated the military situation
throughout, and the losses both in men and camels in the
Bolan Pass were very heavy. Kandahar was fortunately
undefended, and the army was able to rest in a relatively
fertile centre. There was, indeed, no resistance until
Ghazni was reached. Sir Henry Durand (then a
lieutenant in the Bengal Engineers) gallantly blew up the
Kabul Gate of this city, which alone had not been bricked
up, the garrison fled panic-stricken, and the army, which
was once again on short rations, mainly owing to difficulties
of transport, obtained supplies in abundance. This feat
of arms, which amazed the Afghans, who deemed Ghazni
impregnable, secured a triumphal entry into Kabul in
August, 1839, an^ Dost Mohamed subsequently sur-
rendered.
Two years later there was a reaction, led by Akbar
Khan, son of Dost Mohamed. The brigade which had
been left to garrison Kabul was badly led, and was finally
induced to evacuate its cantonment in midwinter, with the
result that four thousand fighting, men and twelve thousand
followers were cut to pieces while retiring on Jalalabad.
In the spring of 1842 Pollock forced the Khyber and
relieved Jalalabad, but it was not until September that
Lord Ellenborough, who had succeeded Lord Auckland
as Governor-General, permitted Pollock from Jalalabad
and Nott from Kandahar to converge on Kabul, which,
after some fighting, was occupied by both generals.
Mean while Shah Shuja had been assassinated, and ultimately
Dost Mohamed, whose feelings towards Great Britain
must have been particularly bitter, was permitted to
return and the British army evacuated Afghanistan.
Thus concluded an enterprise which was unjust, inex-
pedient, and badly led. Its main object was to expel
Dost Mohamed, who was ultimately released and restored